Lagos, Nigeria- 07 March, 2019
International Women’s Day 2019 #Balance for Better
IMS Calls for More Women Participation in Political Process, Governance
The Institute for Media and Society, IMS, wishes to join the rest of the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day, 2019.
The theme of this year’s celebration: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change;” is very apt, as we seek to deepen the democratic process in Nigeria.
This occasion provides an opportunity to highlight some of the challenges that women still contend with across the world. As young girls, they are subjected to harmful traditional practices, such as female genital cutting, early marriage without their consent, denial of modern formal education and subjection to domestic and street labour. As adults, many suffer perpetually under the yoke of domestic violence, while large numbers are trafficked within and across national borders for hazardous labour and sexual exploitation.
Women are expected to be active participants in political processes by making contributions as voters, candidates, activists and office- holders. However, women continue to be denied appropriate space to play their roles in these processes. This situation is compounded by the poor and declining visibility provided for them in media coverage of the electoral and broader governance processes.
We note with strong concern that the recently conducted elections into the National Assembly has produced very few women into the two chambers of the federal legislature. This implies that the trend from 1999 has not changed. This is not good for our democracy.
We live in a world that has recognised that both men and women have complementary roles to play in national development. This means that without the participation of women, any development agenda remains a charade.
We call on the government of Nigerian to actualize gender balance in the governance spheres and to domesticate international instruments that enhance the participation of women in governance.
We urge the National Assembly to enact laws that appropriately position women as active participants in today’s governance arena.
As Nigeria goes to the polls again on Saturday, March 9, 2019, to elect State Governors and members of State Houses of Assembly, we wish our women contestants well and urge citizens to remember that a truly democratic Nigeria can only be erected with the blocks of inclusion.
Dr Akin Akingbulu
Institute for Media and Society